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Rated 3.06 stars
by 314 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Everyone Needs Love
by Betty Jo Tucker

I couldn’t help falling in love with Strange Magic. It’s one of the most delightful animated musicals I’ve ever seen! Fascinating animation, colorful characters and marvelous musical numbers made me smile during the entire film. Kudos to George Lucas for coming up with a story inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream -- and to the voice talent who sing their hearts out on such old favorites as “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” “Fools Rush In,” “ Love Is Strange,” and more.

Like Frozen, Strange Magic follows the misadventures of two royal sisters. Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood) and Dawn (Meredith Anne Bull) are fairy princesses drawn into a major battle between two factions over -- guess what? -- a love potion! After Marianne calls off her relationship with a philandering suitor (Joe Palladio), Dawn becomes the first love potion victim by falling under the spell of cockroach-like Bog King (Alan Cumming) who holds her hostage in the dark, mysterious forest. Of course, Marianne decides she must save Dawn -- and the fun begins.

As expected, the love potion ends up creating some highly unlikely “Beauty and the Beast” romantic pairs. No wonder madcap situations ensue among the various goblins, fairies, imps and elves living in this magical environment. Happily, excellent CGI techniques add considerably to the visual artistry of this terrific family offering directed by Gary Rydstrom (Lifted), who co-wrote the screenplay with Irene Mecchi (Brave) and David Berenbaum (Elf).   

Love takes center stage here with very little time lapses between the great musical numbers. My favorites? Dawn singing “Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch” to the Bog King, much to his dismay; the soulful “Strange Magic” duet between the Bog King and Marianne; “Love Is Strange” sung by the Sugar Plum Fairy (Kristin Chenoweth); “Mistreated” belted out Rock Star style by the Bog King; “Say Hey” performed by Sunny, the elf (Elijah Kelly). I also loved the brief River Dance routine.  All actors provide perfect voices for the characters they play in this entertaining animated musical.     

The film’s Shrek-like theme also resonates with me. No matter the size, shape or color of one’s skin, everyone needs love. If you enjoy movie musicals and would like a welcome antidote to the numerous downer films released during these past few months, Strange Magic is a must-see for you.

IMPORTANT NOTE: My husband wanted to be mentioned in this review -- a first for him. "In a few years, Strange Magic will be known as a film classic," he insists.       

(Released by Walt Disney Studios and rated “PG” for some action and scary images.)

For more information about Strange Magic, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.

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